HDR UK Leadership Team

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Professor Andrew Morris

Director of Health Data Research UK

Since August 2017 Andrew Morris has been the inaugural Director of Health Data Research UK. He is seconded from his position as Professor of Medicine, and Vice Principal of Data Science at the University of Edinburgh, having taken up position in August 2014. Prior to this Andrew was Dean of Medicine at the University of Dundee.

Andrew was Chief Scientist at the Scottish Government Health Directorate (2012-2017) and has served and chaired numerous national and international grant committees and Governmental bodies.

His research interests span informatics and chronic diseases. He has published over 330 original papers, attracted over £50million in grant funding and was the principal investigator of several programme grants including the Wellcome Trust United Kingdom Case Control Collection for Type 2 Diabetes, Generation Scotland, a study of the genetic health in 50,000 Scots, the Wellcome Trust funded Scottish Health Informatics Programme (SHIP), and the Farr Institute in Scotland.

In 2007 he co-founded Aridhia Informatics that employs >70 people in Scotland and uses high performance computing and analytics in health care.

Andrew was previously Governor of the Health Foundation (2009-2017), a leading UK charity that supports quality improvement in health care, and chaired the Informatics Board at UCL Partners, London (2014-2017). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

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Simon Ball

Research Director

Dr Simon Ball is as Consultant Nephrologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, his research is both clinical and translational.

It includes the development and evaluation of biomarkers in chronic transplant rejection, transplantation across ABO blood groups and risk factors for acute kidney injuries. After studying for his MA at Oxford University, he went on to do his PhD at Imperial College London and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 2005. He became President of the Renal Society in 2014 and is now Director of Digital Healthcare at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS.

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John Danesh

Research Director

Professor John Danesh is Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and Head of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge. Alongside his role as a Research Director, he is also Director of the British Heart Foundation’s Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, Associate Faculty Member at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Honorary Consultant at the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Before receiving his MSc from the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine, he trained in medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand and at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia. His main research-interests are discovery genomics and cardiovascular genetics, therapeutic target prioritisation, international vascular health, screening and risk prediction, systems genomics and blood donor health and biology.

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Harry Hemingway

Research Director

Professor Harry Hemingway is Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at UCL. After studying for his medical degree at Cambridge University, Harry went on to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health in 2005.

As a co-founder and Director of the Farr Institute, the central focus of his research is to develop underpinning methods to exploit the scale and phenotypic resolution of electronic health records (EHR) to accelerate early and late phase translational research. He also holds the titles of Director of the Institute for Health Informatics at UCL alongside Director of Healthcare Informatics, Genomics/omics, Data Science at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the University College London Hospital.

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Martin Landray

Research Director

Professor Martin Landray, is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford.

He is also Deputy Director of the Oxford Big Data Institute and his work seeks to further understanding of the determinants of common life-threatening and disabling diseases through the design, conduct and analysis of efficient, large-scale epidemiological studies (including clinical trials) and the widespread dissemination of both the results and the scientific methods used to generate them. He has been a member of the NIHR Commissioning Board and the External Reference Panel for the Ministerial (Biopharmaceutical) Industry Strategy Group Research through Health Data Programme, and is a member of the NHS Digital Research Advisory Group.

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Ronan Lyons

Research Director

Professor Ronan Lyons is Clinical Professor of Public Health at the University of Swansea. He brings over thirty years of experience in clinical medicine, health informatics and public health to HDR UK.

He has wide variety of research interests which focus around the secondary use of health information to support the targeting and evaluation of health and non-health service interventions to improve prevention, care and rehabilitation. After working in several emergency departments, he has a particular interest in the neglected fields prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. Professor Lyons is Director of Farr Institute (CIPHER) at Swansea University, Chair of International Collaborative Effort on Injury Statistics as well as Director of the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research.

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Cathie Sudlow

Research Director

Professor Cathie Sudlow is Head of Centre for Medical Informatics and Chair of Neurology and Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. She is Chief Scientist of UK Biobank and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Her main research interests are in classical and genetic epidemiological approaches to understanding different subtypes of stroke, and – through involvement with UK Biobank and collaboration with other very large cohorts (including Million Women Study and China Kadoorie Biobank) – large scale prospective observational epidemiology. Her work will evolve over the years ahead to encompass prospective studies of neurodegenerative disorders as well as of stroke and related phenotypes.

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Professor Peter Diggle

Director of Training

Our Director of Training, Professor Peter Diggle

Peter joined HDR UK in June 2018 to lead our innovative training programme for health data scientists. Peter is working with the academic institutions across the UK to draw up a training strategy that builds on existing best practice to create a programme that will transform the careers of future leaders in this area on a national scale.

Alongside his role at HDR UK, Peter is a Distinguished University Professor of Statistics in CHICAS, a research and training group within the Lancaster Medical School that operates at the intersection of biostatistics, epidemiology and health informatics. Peter holds adjunct positions at Johns Hopkins, Yale and Columbia Universities, and was president of the Royal Statistical Society between July 2014 and December 2016.

> Dr Rhos Walker
Rhoswyn Walker

Chief Strategy Officer

As Chief Strategy Officer, Rhos’ role is to support HDR UK’s mission to make game changing improvements in the health of patients and populations. This exciting new role will lead the development of HDR UK’s scientific strategy, working in partnership with the Directors and external stakeholders to deliver world class scientific programmes.

Rhos joined HDR UK in June 2018 from the Medical Research Council (MRC) where she was Head of Informatics Research and shaped the MRC’s data science strategy. Before this Rhos held 2 roles within the MRC with responsibility for cancer research as well as skills and training. Prior to the MRC, Rhos’ first role outside of academic research was a research funding and policy development role within a cancer research charity

> Chris Holmes
Chris Holmes

Health Data Science and AI lead

Our Health Data Science and AI lead, Chris Holmes

Chris holds a joint appointment with HDR UK and The Alan Turing Institute to lead our health data science and AI activity. He will develop and coordinate a programme of research involving collaboration across The Alan Turing Institute’s growing university network, creating opportunities with HDR UK’s six substantive sites and the broader health and data science sector.

Chris is currently Professor of Biostatics at the University of Oxford with a joint appointment between the Department of Statistics and the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine through the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. Before joining the University of Oxford, Chris was based at Imperial College, London, and also worked in industry conducting research in scientific computing. He holds a Programme Leader’s award in Statistical Genomics from the Medical Research Council UK

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Gerry Reilly

Chief Technology Officer

Our Interim Chief Technology Officer, Gerry Reilly

Gerry joined HDR UK in June 2018 to lead the development of the Institute’s technology and infrastructure strategy. Gerry graduated from Queen Mary College (now Queen Mary University of London) in Physics and Electronics and then joined Sony Broadcast and Communications undertaking research in digital video. After Sony, he joined Stewart Hughes leading software development for helicopter health diagnostics before moving to Digital Equipment where he held a variety of technical and management roles in both the engineering and business development areas. Gerry then joined IBM where he held a number of roles including Vice President for Event Services in the IBM Cloud and Watson Group. Gerry also played a key role in IBM’s relationship with academia, initially with the University of York and subsequently leading the IBM partnership with Queen Mary University of London. Gerry is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, Chartered Engineer and Chartered IT Professional.

> Amanda White
Amanda White

Communications and Marketing Director

Amanda joined HDR UK in February 2018 to provide strategic guidance to the development of the Institute’s strategy and play a leading role to create and build the HDR UK brand and manage its reputation. Amanda previously led communications at UCLPartners, an academic health science partnership.

Here she launched the NHS Innovation Accelerator, which supports the uptake of innovative solutions across health and social care, and led communications and engagement activity for the reconfiguration of specialist cancer and cardiac services. Prior to this, Amanda worked in the NHS, managing the PR launch of the Barts Cancer Centre in 2010, the ‘small c’ campaign to raise awareness of cancer symptoms in north east and north central London, and was the onsite media liaison for the London bombings in July 2005.

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